The Frog in Ferrara cuisine

44028 Chiesa Nuova FE, Italia

Simona Bertolaso

Chiesa Nuova


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Of this amphibian, much appreciated for its delicate meat, there are two species in Italy that are good for eating: the green frog (Rana esculenta) and the common frog (Rana temporaria). Although it is one of the most popular inhabitants of ponds and marshes in the north, the frog has always struck the imagination of man.
In fact, there are many beliefs and proverbs related to this animal. In the past it was believed that frogs were born from the earth fecundated by summer showers, or that they were conceived by the rain directly in the sky.
It was in Italy and France that during the early Middle Ages the custom of eating frogs became established, identified as a poor and meagre food, the fishing of which was freely granted to farmers in areas rich in water.
Even a few decades ago, crowds of "ranari", even in the countryside around Ferrara, would wander through ditches and marshes looking for these little animals. In the morning, when the sacks were full, they were prepared to be eaten fresh, marinated (fried or boiled), or preserved in salt.
Today, the difficulties of both supply and preparation (skinning and cleaning) make them a rather expensive and uncommon food, to be enjoyed almost exclusively in restaurants.

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